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What’s Inside…... 3 The Incredible Edible Camellia 4 Tea In America 6 Fall Blooming Tea Camellia 7 Growing Camellia Sinensis for Tea 9 Make Your Own Tea 10 Tea from Seeds Or Cuttings 11 Preparing C. sinensis for Tea Cultivation 14 Planting C. sinensis Outdoors 15 US Climate Zone Map 16 The Importance of Good Drainage 17 Growing C. sinensis in Cold Climates 18 Growing Camellia sinensis in Containers 19 Camellia Sinensis Soil pH 19 Growing Tea Indoors 20 Feeding Your Tea Plants 21 Water and Mulch for Your Tea Plants 22 What’s Eating Your Tea 23 Tea Plant Disease and Disorders 24 Plant Sources 2 Tea, Thea, Chai, Chi , it doesn’t matter how you say it, it all means the same thing. This remarkable beverage we all love to drink comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. Today, tea from camellia sinensis is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water. But what is this plant, how did it come to be, and what is the future for us with it? Tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. In general, Camellias are evergreen shrubs and the produce flowers during the fall and winter months for the most part. They are native to China, Japan and Southeast Asia but have found their way for centuries to all parts of the world where they have been thriving and blooming for centuries. There are many types of camellias, called species. Camellia japonica and camellia sasanqua are the most popular of the blooming camellia species. Camellia sinensis, better known as the tea plant, is the oldest camellia species known to man but is the only camellia species that is grown for tea. This Tea Guide is not the “one size fits all” solution to growing tea, but it will give you a good start at understanding and growing Camellia Sinensis. Tsubaki Tea Www.tsubakitea.com Email: info@tsubakitea.com For more information Visit Us Online WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
What   s Inside   ... 3  The Incredible Edible Camellia  4  Tea In America  6  Fall Blooming Tea Camellia  7  Growing Came...
The Incredible Edible Camellia The Camellia Family To understand Camellia sinensis, you need to look at the family it belongs to. In the plant kingdom, every living thing is divided into a vast category system . Way down on the list of categories, you will find family, genus, species, then cultivar or variety . Family: Th eaceae Genus: Cam el li a Species: S i nens i s Cultivar: di fferen t vari eti es of th e s peci es Camellia sinensis is a species of the genus “Camellia” which is part of the family of Theaceae. There are over 250 known species world wide. Most people may be more familiar with sinensis’ famous cousins, Japonica and Sasanqua which are more known for their bountiful fall and winter blooms that adorn our gardens in milder climates. Japonica, sasanqua, sinensis, reticulate, lutchuenensis, cuspidate, are just a few of the hundreds of known species of the genus Camellia. Each of the camellia species have some basic similarities in genetic makeup which is the reason they were all categorized into the same genus. Likewise, each species has some characteristic that make divide the plants further. Regardless of species - the genus camellia produces flowers, are evergreen shrubs and trees and they are all reproductively compatible, which means that they can be interbred between the individual species. So are all camellias tea plants? Camellia sinensis is the plant that is used for the worlds most popular beverage, Tea! Many people are very surprised that tea is made from a camellia and has been for thousands of years. There is much confusion that surrounds the connection between camellias and tea plants. For people who have experience with camellias, you understand the difference. For people who are not familiar with camellias, but are interested in Tea, We like to explain it in this way…… “All Tea Plants are Camellias, but not all Camellias are Tea Plants” 3 We use the term “Tea Plants” to describe a plant that is used for making tea. Not all camellias are used for making tea, thus they are not all called “Tea Plants”. Only the leaves from Camellia sinensis varieties are used for making tea. Camellia sinensis is not just one plant. It has many thousand cultivars or varieties. Just like the more ornamental flowering types of camellias, sinensis varieties have varying characteristics that make it a very suitable plant for most any garden. The special characteristic that makes Camellia sinensis the “tea plant” is that the leaves of Camellia sinensis cultivars contain caffeine. The other more popular ornamental species of camellia do not contain this important attribute that makes tea what it is. As with other camellia species, there are many characteristics within camellia sinensis varieties such as bloom colors which are predominantly white, but can be pink on some varieties, foliage sizes and textures, growth rates, and growth habits, such as upright dense varieties with large leaves to small compact dwarf-like plants with very small leaves. There are also some varieties with bronze to red foliage. Only the leaves are used in tea production, not the flowers. Regardless of your use of Camellia sinensis, for tea or for flowers, you’ll will surely love growing this remarkable plant species. So you ask “ Can I grow tea?” You sure can, and in most climates, in one way or another, camellia sinensis can be grown successfully. WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
The Incredible Edible Camellia The Camellia Family To understand Camellia sinensis, you need to look at the family it belo...
The Tea Fascination For centuries, Tea was grown and used by the people of China and Japan, but it was not until the early 1600’s that Tea was first discovered by the Europeans. Much of the early use of Tea was restricted to wealthy individuals and nobility because of its high price. It was treated as a rare spice with prices being over $100.00 per pound in the early years of Tea in Europe. Like the craze that had swept Tea into popularity in China and Japan, the trend continued in Europe with Tea becoming a part of the way of life. This was especially true in England where “Afternoon Tea” became a ritual. In the late 1600’s, Tea made its way into popularity in the English colonies in America. The Tea Revolt During the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, the English imposed many different taxes on the colonists that were resented by the new settlers of America. However, in 1767 when the English imposed the Tea Tax, the colonists were motivated to action by dressing up as Indians, boarding ships in New England, and throwing hundreds of pounds of Tea into the harbor as a protest of their displeasure. It became well known as “The Boston Tea Party”, and it was this act of defiance that ultimately led America towards achieving its independence in the Revolutionary War. Tea in the South As was the case in China, Japan, and Europe, Tea became a very popular beverage in America as well. Some of the earliest attempts to grow Tea in America occurred in the southeast. According to a report from Francis Moore, seeds of Camellia sinensis were sent to the Savannah, Georgia to be planted in the famous Trust Gardens in 1744. The report goes on to say that the Tea seed did not germinate. However, an 1857 report of the United States Patent office indicates that Tea plants first came to Georgia in 1772, and by 1805, Tea was growing on Skidaway Island near Savannah. Much of the early attempts to 4 grow Tea in America were unsuccessful due in part to insufficient capital, and also because of a malaria epidemic that hit the Savannah region. Early Pioneers In the late 1700’s, Andre’ Michaux, a French botanist and explorer, is credited for importing tea plants into South Carolina along with many other unique flower species. In 1858, The US Patent Office, convinced that Tea could become a viable agriculture product in the USA, obtained and distributed many Camellia sinensis Tea Plants throughout the USA in hopes that growers could experiment with growing their own tea. This was done with the help of a man named Robert Fortune. Fortune was the great English plant explorer that discovered many of our treasured plants in the western world during his journeys in China. He is credited with exporting significant numbers of Tea Plants from China to England. In 1858 there are records of his importing Tea plants to the USA. They arrived in Wardian cases which were like small greenhouses. Fortune discovered that if he planted the seed in these cases in China before shipping them across the long ocean voyages, the Tea seed would be germinated by the time they reached their destination. Many of these Tea seedlings were 18 inches high when they arrived in America. The initial 10,000 Tea seedlings were propagated into over 30,000 Tea plants and then widely distributed throughout the Southern United States before the American Civil War. In 1880, The US Government approached Henry Middleton, a well-to-do Gentleman of Charleston, SC and master of the Middleton Plantation, about leasing some land for the purpose of experimenting with growing tea. He agreed and for the sum of one silver dollar, he leased over 200 acres located near Summerville, SC. to the USA but the experiment was short lived and was halted in 1884. Soon after, Dr. Charles Shepherd of South Carolina, started growing plants near the original location and it WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
The Tea Fascination For centuries, Tea was grown and used by the people of China and Japan, but it was not until the early...
is said that some of the plants he used were from the plantings at Summerville. It was called the Pinehurst Tea Plantation. Thousands of visitors flock to their tea farm each year to see their tea fields, production facility and to sample the truly American grown tea. Dr. Shepherd began importing tea from all over the world and grew it in separate fields on his property. He then began hybridizing the tea from other places with the tea he already had established. His purpose was to prove that tea could be successfully grown commercially in America, and that he did. By 1892, his tea fields were producing 92 lbs. of tea per season and by 1907, it grew to over 12,000 pounds of tea from 100 acres. Tea is proving to grow well in areas all across the USA. There are emerging tea farms from east coast to west coast. Dr. Charles Shepherd Dr. Shepherd created a school for tea pickers. He hired black children to work for him and paid them .50 per day. The average worker income during that time period was $1.00 per week. He insisted on providing them decent wages and teaching a skill that they could use for employment. Shepherd died in 1915 and the production facility burned down therefore stopping all tea production. The property was eventually sold in 1955 and is now known as the Tea Farm Subdivision. In 1963, the then owner, Harold Sebring, leased 20 acres to the Lipton Tea Company for research. Lipton moved some of the plants to Wadmalaw Island and that move eventually became the famous Charleston Tea Plantation. Tea Today and Beyond Today, the Charleston Tea Plantation grows over 100 acres of tea plants. The days of hand harvesting, at least in the USA are gone. The CTP were the first in America to design, build and operate a mechanical harvester for tea. Their facility also follows a mechanical theme in processing and packaging. 5 The Great Mississippi Tea Gardens is being established by Jason McDonald in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Their mission is to establish a working tea farm that can serve as a map for future development of other ventures like theirs. They hope to create industry standards through mechanical processing, growing methods, ethical sustainable labor practices all while trying to make the world a greener place by reducing chemical and pesticide use. But Jason does not stop there, he is also working in Hawaii to establish and re-establish working tea farms by employing the same ideals and missions that he has in Mississippi. But Charleston and Mississippi are not the only commercial tea farms in America. There are many new and emerging tea farms all across the USA. Currently we know of farms in Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina and California. Home gardeners are also growing Camellia sinensis in cities, suburban landscapes, and in their rural gardens. With the risk of pesticides and gmo’s in our food, people are looking for safe alternatives to bring to their tables. Since the dawn of the new millennium, we are seeing wide spread interest in Tea due in part to those first tea pioneers planting the first seeds. Many of the tea plants that we have today are related to those first plants brought to America almost 200 years ago. It will be interesting to see just how far American will go in their quest to Grow Their Own Tea! WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
is said that some of the plants he used were from the plantings at Summerville. It was called the Pinehurst Tea Plantation...
The Fall Blooming Camellia Camellia sinensis One plant –two uses! Camellia sinensis is not just for tea. It is a wonderful addition to any garden because of it’s “camellia family” characteristics. Much unlike most of it’s famous camellia cousins, Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua, Camellia sinensis flowers are small, simple and some are even slightly fragrant. Late summer sprays of blossoms adorn the evergreen plants in colors of white or pink depending on the variety. The many diverse leaf textures and plant sizes all offer something special to your garden as even without blooms, the plants are very attractive. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen ornamental shrub that is easy to maintain, can tolerate a wide climate range. The many types of sinensis cultivars available can vary in growth habits and sizes, so they can fit into a wide range of locations. Growing Season Camellia sinensis has an active growing season that begins in late April or early May and extends through September in climate zones 8. In colder zones like 6 and 7, the growing season could be shorter and in warmer zones like 9 and 10, it could be longer. Blooming Season - reproductive stage Camellia sinensis that are grown for tea are plucked or pruned on a regular basis during the plant’s growing season. This constant plucking keeps the plant constrained and makes it difficult for it to enter the reproductive phase, which is setting flower buds and producing seeds. If you do not constant pluck that leaves the plant will begin to develop flower buds which will open during the late summer to early fall. The flowers will be pollinated either by bees, or the wind and with a certainty that they will develop seeds the following summer. The seeds can be harvested, planted and will more than likely grow into brand new tea plants. The flowers do not play a part in producing tea. Top—Oglethorpe Tea in bloom Oglethorpe Tea in bloom, close up of bloom Oglethorpe Tea Foliage not in bloom Madison Tea—Foliage & pink blooms 6 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
The Fall Blooming Camellia Camellia sinensis One plant    two uses  Camellia sinensis is not just for tea. It is a wonderf...
Grow Camellia Sinensis For Tea Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown for making tea as long as you understand what the plant will do. When you buy a car, you know how fast it will go, you know what gas mileage it should get and you know if it will get stuck in the mud. Your tea plants are no different. As long as you make yourself familiar with the plant and it’s likes and dislikes, you should be successful at growing tea. Camellia sinensis grown for tea will rarely flower. This is because you are constantly harvesting tea leaves, so the plant is in a growing stage and not left to flower. Tea and Climate Climate could play a part in the taste of tea, but not as important as the way in which the tea is processed. Typically, tea plants grow well in moderate climates where the growing season is long and the weather is humid. Milder climates of the US are well suited for tea production—this is typically zones 8 and 9. Plant Stages There are several periods of the tea plant production in which you will go through. The Branch formation stage which you will prune your tea plant for optimum plant growth so that you will get as many leaves as possible. The second stage is the harvesting stage at which you begin harvesting tea leaves. And the third stage is one that you probably won’t get to for a while, the rejuvenation stage. The branch formation stage can take up to 3 years to establish many branches for your sinensis tea plant. During this time you will be pruning and trimming your plant but you also want to pay close attention to it’s nutritional needs. Fertilizing is a necessary element that you will need to address during this time. The second stage is the actual harvesting stage. After your plant has reached 3 years of age and has significant branches, you can begin harvesting tea. This stage, depending on how often you harvest, can last for years. During this time, close attention to plant health is necessary. Fertilizing, mulching, insect control will all need to be addressed to keep your plant healthy and producing foliage for harvest. You’ll also want to remove and dead or spindly branches to keep your plant at it’s best. The third stage is the rejuvenation stage. This is a stage at where your plant has become leggy, spindly, or is not 7 producing healthy leaves or branches. This can be caused by weather, improper soil, insects, planting methods or just about anything else that will cause your plant to decline in a healthy state. At this point you have the option of just cutting your losses or cutting your plant, which is recommended. Giving a severe harsh pruning will encourage the plant to grow new branches. This should be done during the dormant season when the plant is not actively growing and is best accomplished by not cutting more than 1/2 of the plant back at a time. Removing dead or weak branches will also improve the overall health of your tea plants. Harvesting Tea Leaves Once your tea plants are established and you begin harvesting tea leaves, you only want to do so during the active growing season. Young tender growth is the only part of the plant that is used for making tea. Each plant, if it is in a healthy state, should produce new leaves every 7 to 14 days during the growing season. An average plant about 3’ tall and 3’ wide should produce about 70-80 tea leaves if properly trained to produce branching. This would result in about1-2 cups of tea after the leaves are dried. It takes about 60,000 leaves to make a pound of tea. One plant would probably satisfy your curiosity for tea, but if you are a hefty tea drinker, you would certainly need more. This is also dependent on the growing season which could be longer or shorter depending on your location. Dormancy All tea plants, regardless of where you live, will go through a dormant stage. In warmer regions, the plants can produce foliage up until October then begin to harden off as they reach a dormant stage. In colder regions where the weather starts to get cooler, the dormant season may start earlier. During the dormant season, the roots continue to grow, but maybe at a slower pace. Fertilizing should be at a minimum during this time. The WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Grow Camellia Sinensis For Tea Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown for making tea as long as you understand what t...
water requirements are lower during the cool weather so you may have to adjust your watering schedule. Mulching and insect control should be maintained at this time as well. Usually by April or May it is warm enough for the growth buds to break dormancy and begin their growing season again and your harvesting cycle can begin again. Types of Tea There are three main types of tea and they are all made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.    Green Tea Oolong Tea Black Tea The difference in these types of tea is the processing method. Green Tea is not allowed to oxidize or ferment. Oolong Tea is allowed to partially oxidize, and Black Tea is allowed to completely oxidize. Processing Tea Techniques & Practices The processing method you choose and your skill at it will determine the taste of your tea. In tea producing countries, it can take years to become a master tea maker, but with practice, you can process your tea to taste like you want it to. For many, green tea is the easiest and most healthiest of the tea to process. Black Tea, Oolong Tea, and Green Tea Some methods of processing can involve letting the leaves dehydrate, breaking or rolling, steaming, or pan frying and can be a combination of any of these techniques. There is really no correct way to do it. Your results will be the guide on how you should perform the tea making task. All other types of tea, Jasmine, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, consist of a base of sinensis. Flavorings such as jasmine, cinnamon, or citrus can be added to the tea to give it a distinctive flavor. Other types of tea such as Chamomile or Ginger, are not made with sinensis, and should really be considered Herbal Teas. Other Types of Tea Parts of the Plant used for Certain Teas In addition to the types of processing techniques you use, taking certain parts of the tea plants will also result in different tastes. For example, Green tea is taken from the tip of the branch and consists of the top leaf and a bud (a leaf that has not unfurled completely). Black Tea is produced from one to two leaves and a bud White Tea is the purest of all tea and the leaves are harvested from just the unfurled leaf buds. First Flush tea is the first tea harvested at the onset of the growing season. It is usually the sweetest and purest of all tea that will be harvested.     8 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
water requirements are lower during the cool weather so you may have to adjust your watering schedule. Mulching and insect...
Make Your Own Tea from Camellia Sinensis These are just a few of the basic methods we found. Remember that making tea is an art and practice will give you the results you want to have! GREEN TEA 1. Tender young growth is picked by hand from Camellia sinensis. Young shoots with 2 - 3 leaves are recommended. Any surface water on the leaves and shoots is allowed to dry in the shade for up to a few hours. 2. In preparing green tea, the oxidizing enzymes are killed by steaming the freshly plucked leaf in a vegetable steamer on your stove for less than one minute, or by roasting in a hot pan ( cast-iron skillet ) for a few minutes. This process is called "sha qing" (killing out) in Chinese. 3. Proceed to Drying (Below) OOLONG TEA 1. The freshly plucked shoots from Camellia sinensis are spread out thinly over a table on a mat or a towel. The shoots are wilted under the sun for 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the temperature. 2. The leaves are then taken indoors, where they are left to wither at room temperature for a 4-5 hours. During this period the leaves are gently agitated, crushed and bruised by hand every hour. This process causes the edge of the leaf to turn red, and the moisture content drops about 20%. These controlled actions cause the biochemical reactions and enzymatic processes in the leaf, which in turn produce the unique aroma and colors found in oolong teas. 3. Proceed to Drying (Below) BLACK TEA 1. Tender young growth is picked by hand from Camellia sinensis. Young shoots with 2 - 3 leaves are recommended. Any surface water on the leaves and shoots is allowed to dry on racks for 10 to 20 hours and its purpose is to bring down the internal moisture of the leaf to somewhere between 60% and 70% of the original moisture. 2. The leaves are bruised to allow the fermentation process to begin. Several shoots are rolled between your hands or crushed until the leaves darken and become crinkled. This process is repeated until all the leaves are bruised till they turn a bright copper penny color. 3. The leaves are allowed to ferment by placing thin layers of leaves on a tray in a shady location or indoors. After 2-3 days the leaves are ready for drying. 4. Proceed to drying below Final Step Drying Depending on the moisture content still in your tea, drying times will vary. In a 200ºF oven put your tea on a pan for about 5-10 minutes, checking every minute or so to ensure drying, but not burning. Green tea may need a little longer drying time in the oven than oolong or black. There’s no one right way—just experiment and have fun! 9 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Make Your Own Tea from Camellia Sinensis These are just a few of the basic methods we found. Remember that making tea is a...
Seeds or Cuttings Two propagation methods, two different outcomes Camellia sinensis tea plants that have been allowed to produce flowers will most likely produce seeds. These green odd shaped seed pods begin to develop after the flowers have been pollinated during the fall and have a gestational season of about 8-9 months. Once they begin to ripen, the seed pods can be opened and the small black or dark brown seeds can be planted to grow into more tea plants. Tea Plant seedlings are not always true to the parent. If the flowers were pollinated by different varieties of sinensis, then the seedlings can carry certain attributes from both of the parents, or they can be entirely different as the gene pool gets scrambled. In some areas where Tea Plants and other camellia species are blooming at the same time, there is a possibility that cross pollination can occur since all Camellia species are reproductively compatible. This is rare, but could happen in gardens where there are many types of camellias blooming, especially early blooming varieties. Usually seedlings from camellias that are open pollinated (basically by bees and wind) are classified as the species of the seed parent. Thus, any seedling that comes from a sinensis plant is considered as a Camellia sinensis cultivar, regardless of it’s possible parentage. In the event that the seedlings were of a controlled cross, which means that it was manually cross pollinated, if both pollen and flower were from sinensis, the species would be sinensis. If the manual pollination was of sinensis and another species, it would technically be considered a hybrid. Breeding of sinensis with other camellia species to develop certain desirable characteristics in a new camellia such as growth habit, leaf texture and blooming seasons is being done by some growers but it is not yet determined if new hybrids with sinensis parentage will be suitable for tea production. Tea Plant seedlings are different from cuttings or cloned varieties in that they all produce a tap root. Starch is stored in this tap root and it makes for a very healthy plant with the ability to overcome certain adversities such as drought as their tap root goes far beyond the feeder roots in order to seek out water and nutrients. Cuttings do not develop a tap root, but have their own set of advantages. They produce a plant that can be ready for harvesting sooner than from seed and with cuttings you know exactly what you are going to get so your harvesting plants will all grow the same. Seedlings have the disadvantage in that their growth habit or preferences are not known at the onset like that of cuttings from established varieties. So to answer the question, do you want tea plants grown from cuttings or seeds? If you want to grow and take a chance on what you might get, then grow from seeds. If you want to know the history and the preferences of the plants you will be growing, then choose plants grown from cuttings. They both make great tea! C. sinensis ‘Amelia Tea’ - all identical plants grown in our field 10 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Seeds or Cuttings Two propagation methods, two different outcomes Camellia sinensis tea plants that have been allowed to p...
Preparing C. sinensis for Tea Cultivation Branch Formation for Tea Production If Camellia sinensis is being grown for tea production, then you have some special training to do in order to encourage your plants to provide you with as many tea leaves as possible. Tea is harvested from the shoots or tips of plants, so it is understandable that we want as many of these tips or branches on our camellia sinensis as possible. In regions where tea is grown for commercial production, plants undergo a 3 year training period called the Branch Formation Stage. During this period of time, the plants are groomed and pinched to encourage as many side shoots as possible. This is easy to do and you will quickly see the results. Young plants produce stems with leaves. At the base of every leaf near the stem is a dormant growth bud. When the plant enters the growing season, a naturally occurring plant hormone called gibberellins are released and are strongest in the tip of the stem. Because of this concentrated hormone, the plant puts on new growth at the tip of the branch. But in tea production, we want to encourage these side shoots or buds to grow. In order to do this, we pinch out the top of the growth bud which will send the raging hormones to further down the stem which will wake up the sleeping growth buds and cause them to grow. As these side shoots begin to grow, you will eventually begin to pinch the growth buds out of them as well, encouraging even more side shoots. Top Illustration shows a 10-12” branch of camellia sinensis that is growing from the top, not the side. In the close up photo, you can see the small growth bud at the base of the leaf where it joins the stem. 11 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Preparing C. sinensis for Tea Cultivation Branch Formation for Tea Production If Camellia sinensis is being grown for tea ...
Camellia Sinensis Tea Plant Branch Formation Branch formation should begin the first growing season or after the plant has reached 12”. Plants tend to grow from the top and side growth usually comes later. To have plants suitable for tea harvesting, you want to use the first 3 years to begin formation of your tea plants. Ideally you want a bushy plant with many branches as tea leaves are only harvested from the tips when you do begin taking leaves. So you want to have as many “tips” or branches as possible. You want to pinch tips all through the growing season then give a harsh pruning in winter. Ideal plant shape for harvesting tea Pinch or cut and remove the tip from plants that are actively growing and are tender, soft green stems This will cause the other growth buds farther down the stem to begin growing to create more branches. You can then pinch the tips out of future branches to encourage even more branching 12 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia Sinensis Tea Plant Branch Formation Branch formation should begin the first growing season or after the plant has...
Camellia Sinensis Branch Formation Stages for Tea Production Camellia Sinensis branch formation is a necessary task if you wish to seriously grow camellia sinensis for making tea. These are just guidelines based on what is done on commercial tea farms. You can use your own judgment as to what extent you wish to prune your plants for your own tea production. Pruning for branch formation should begin the first year. This should be done during the dormant season in the United States that would be December or January. Prune to about 56” Make sure you are leaving some foliage on the plant. First Pruning 5 to 6 inches Ground or soil level During the second growing season, pinch to encourage side shoots then when the plants are dormant for year two, (DecemberJanuary) prune to about 12-14” tall as indicated in the illustration Second Pruning 12-14 inches Ground or soil level Third Pruning 18-20 inches Ground or soil level Continue pinching tips to encourage side shoots for year 3 growing season. You may even be able to get enough leaves by plucking to make some tea at this stage. And once again, during the dormant season of year 3, prune to 18-20” tall. Growing season year four you are ready to really get down to harvesting on a regular basis. 13 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia Sinensis Branch Formation Stages for Tea Production Camellia Sinensis branch formation is a necessary task if you...
Planting Camellia Sinensis Outdoors For Warmer Climate Zones 7-8-9 Tea Plants can be planted outdoors in milder climates. A part-sun part-shade environment works best and Tea Plants should be protected from afternoon sun. They are not as sensitive to cold weather as most plants can be and have been known to grow as far north as Climate zone 7 and even some warmer parts of zone 6. The main thing to keep in mind with Camellia sinensis plants is that they absolutely will not tolerate wet feet or planting too deeply.  Camellia sinensis can tolerate full sun in most moderate climates PROVIDED it gets adequate water. If your plant does not get adequate water in full sun it could burn, or it could dry out causing brown tips and margins or even death. Morning sun is preferred with afternoon shade.  Select the proper location and planting time for your plant—Zone 8 and 9 Fall to Spring planting. Zone 7 Spring planting is recommended. Zone 5,6 not suitable for outdoor planting.  Create a raised planting or berm where you will your plant will be installed. This can be made of using additional soil from other locations in your yard, or it can be made using top soil. The area should be at least 34 inches higher than the existing ground level.  Once your raised planting or berm has been created, dig out an area in the center to install your plant. Mix in about 10%-15% organic material such as peat most or leave compost with the soil that was dug out of the center of the raised planting or berm. 14  Remove your Tea Plant from the container and plant it in the hole at the top of the raised planting or berm. You want the top of the Tea Plant’s root system to be exactly level with the top of the raised planting or berm.  Use the soil that was dug out and mixed with the organic material to fill back in the hole around the root system. Carefully pack the soil as you fill it in to avoid any air pockets.  Once the plant is installed, mulch with about 3 inches of organic material such as bark, leaves, or pine straw and water the plant thoroughly.  By creating this raised planting or berm, you have insured that excessive water will be drained away from your plant so that it will not be too wet. By incorporating organic material into the soil surrounding the roots, you have insured that the soil will retain sufficient moisture for the plant.  Once your plant has established itself by sending out roots into the raised planting or berm you should have an ideal growing area for your Tea Plant. Until the roots of your Tea Plant have grown out and established itself, be sure to water several times a week. Any excess water will continue to run off. WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Planting Camellia Sinensis Outdoors For Warmer Climate Zones 7-8-9 Tea Plants can be planted outdoors in milder climates. ...
US Climate Zone Map The USDA Climate zone map is beneficial in determining the cold hardiness of plants in certain regions. We often refer plants to certain climate zones. To lookup you climate zone, find your region on the map and then find the corresponding color on the chart under the map to see your zone number. The numbers under the color chart indicate the approximate minimum temperatures your area experiences. Camellia Belt Climate zone 8 and 9 Very favorable for planting outdoors. Fall to Spring planting is recommended Zone 10 Suitable for growing some varieties in the ground, but mainly in containers. Can plant year round Intermediate - Zone 7 Some varieties outdoors in protected areas, or grown outdoors in warmer weather, indoors in very cold weather Spring Planting is recommended Extremely Cold - 6 and 5 Outdoors in warmer weather, indoors in very cold weather, could possibly damage or kill plants outdoors during cold weather. Not suitable for outdoor planting Zones 1-4 Outdoors in warmer weather, indoors in cold weather—will not tolerate outdoor temps Chart shows minimum temperatures during cold months 15 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
US Climate Zone Map The USDA Climate zone map is beneficial in determining the cold hardiness of plants in certain regions...
Camellia sinensis The Importance of Good Drainage Tea Plants like all other camellias likes to me moist at all time. They do not need to be dry, and they especially do not need to be wet. Tea is more sensitive to very wet conditions than most other species of camellias, and Tea Plants can’t survive if the conditions are very wet. The problem with too wet soils for Tea is even more dangerous if you put your Tea Plants in containers or pots. Many people The easiest and most common way to kill Tea plants is to keep them too wet. Whether the Tea Plants are in the ground or in containers, if the soil retains too much water, your Tea Plants are going to die and die quickly. We can’t emphasize this fact enough. Tea likes to be moist at all times, but the excessive water needs to be able to drain away from the root system immediately. Tea Plants grow on the side of mountains and hills in many parts of the world. Think of rain on the side of a mountain. If the soil contains good organic material, moister from the rain will be retained in the soil, while the excessive rain water runs of the mountain side. This is the ideal condition for growing Tea, but most of us don’t have mountains sides for planting Tea. A good rule to follow is to always plant Tea in the ground on raised plantings. If you build up the soil into a small slightly raised hill with good organic material added to the soil, you can plant your Tea Plants on the top of these raised plantings. This will insure that the excessive water always runs away from the roots. At the same time, the organic components of the soil will retain constant moisture for your plants. 16 This raised planter would be excellent to use in areas where your soil may not provide adequate drainage. kill their Tea plants by planting them in the wrong planting soil in containers. There are many great potting soils sold today at garden centers including nationally advertised brands that are great for most plants. The problem is that most of these commercial potting soils have too much peat most in the soil for Tea Plants. This excessive peat moss holds too much water and the Tea Plants stay to wet. When this happens, the Tea Plants placed in these containers in this type of soil will die quickly. Don’t kill your Tea Plant. Always think about good drainage whether your Tea is growing in a container or in the ground. WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia sinensis The Importance of Good Drainage  Tea Plants like all other camellias likes to me moist at all time. They...
Growing Tea in Cold Climates Tips for Managing The Cold Traditionally the camellia belt is known as zones 8 and 9. In the past, zones north of this area such as 7, 6 and 5, have not been very habitable for growing camellias outdoors—but in some areas that are warmer, some camellias are grown outdoors with not much trouble. It all depends on your individual climate and the variety of camellia you choose. Research has shown that there are some camellias that have proven to grow outdoors and handle cold much better than others. With the development of Cold hardy Hybrids, the choices are much better than 20 years ago. First you should know what to expect from your camellia and then be prepared to offer it the best chance to grow. Tips for growing camellias in colder climates from Dr. William Ackerman, expert nurseryman and developer of many of our cold hardy camellias:  Spring planting is recommended rather than fall planting, unless the plants are protected the first winter or two. Water well all season especially if the weather is dry.  Avoid full sun especially early morning sun during freezing winter weather. A canopy of evergreen shade trees will provide shade all winter and is ideal.  Planting near a wall or other structure can help block harsh winter winds.  Do not fertilize after June in colder climates of zone 5, 6 and 7. Spring applications of Hollytone or other applications is sufficient.  Protect newly planted camellias during their first winter or two. Micro foam or frost blankets usually work well for this type of protection as does extra mulch.  Soil amendments may be well rotted compost or pine bark. Use peat moss sparingly as it becomes too dense with time. 17 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Growing Tea in Cold Climates Tips for Managing The Cold  Traditionally the camellia belt is known as zones 8 and 9. In the...
Growing Camellia Sinensis In Containers Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown in containers as long as you remember some very important tips! The most important thing to remember about Camellia sinensis is that it will absolutely not tolerate wet soils or soils that do not drain properly. Make sure you pay close attention to the recommendations we have for potting soils. We use a soil mix that we custom blend using two different sizes of bark, one very finely ground (less than 1/8” and one that is less than 1/2”. We also use peat moss and micronutrients. Growing in Containers—tips  Choose a container that is about twice as large as the root mass of your plant.  AVOID containers that are too large or you could have uneven water and nutrient distribution which could lead to trouble with your plant. Keep plant roots near the top of the pot.  Make sure your container has plenty of drain holes.  Fill the bottom with larger pebbles or stones so that water can drain well to the bottom of the pot and out. Avoid clogging holes.  Clay will pull more water out of the soil—so if you must use clay, pay close attention to your plants water needs.  Don’t let your container sit in a saucer of water. Drain water off so that water will not be wicked back up into the pot. Garden centers may have bagged ground aged bark and may call it soil conditioner - check the ingredients to be sure. Nurseries in your area that grow their own shrubs and trees may have the bark mix. Check with a local nursery in your area. Also refer to our alternate mix below Tsubaki Tea Soil—5 Gallons 3 gallons bucket of Pine bark fines or mulch. Also sold as soil conditioner. Less than 1/4 inch pieces finely ground. 2 gallon bucket of Pine bark mini nuggets, small pine bark pieces less than 1 inch pieces 1 gallon bucket of Peat moss Hollytone and Milorganite (1/2 cup each) Choose the correct potting soil for Camellia Sinensis The natural habitat for camellia sinensis are soils that are organic in nature and well drained. You will see them planted on hillsides and in rocky terrain. This is because these type soils are high in acidity and drain very well. If we try to mimic the type of soils that Camellia sinensis grows in, then we will be successful at growing it. The biggest mistake people make with sinensis is buying the bagged potting mixes that contain peat. Peat moss adds moisture retention to the soil which is something that sinensis plants will not tolerate. We do not recommend that you use the commercial bagged mixes unless you have used them with sinensis before. 18 Alternative Soil Recipe 5 Parts Miracle Grow “Garden Soil” For Shrubs & Trees (NOT Veg and Bedding) 1 Part Perlite This is Garden Soil, not Potting Soil WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Growing Camellia Sinensis In Containers Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown in containers as long as you remember ...
Camellia Sinensis Soil pH Proper pH will give you healthy plants Soil pH, or potential Hydrogen, and numeric scales are used describe whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. A pH reading of 7.0 is considered neutral. Higher than 7.0 is considered alkaline and below 7.0 are acidic. Soils that are too alkaline can prevent nutrients from being taken up into the plant thus causing nutrient deficiencies. If you are unsure of your soil pH, or if your plants are not performing well, it would be wise to have your soil tested. Keep in mind that soil pH can be different as close as 2-3 feet away—so checking the exact area they are growing in will give you correct results    Camellias prefer a soil pH of 4.5-5.0 and not higher than 5.5 or best results and to maintain optimum health. Damage, growth problems and nutrient deficiencies can occur in plants that are growing in soils with a pH balance. Garden soil pH probe testers are not always accurate. Chemical tests are more accurate. Your county extension service should be able to provide soil testing for you. A lot of things can affect soil acidity, soil makeup or materials in the soil, excessive rain fall or drought, and even some fertilizers can add or reduce pH levels. Having your soil tested is a sure-fire way to know for sure exactly what soil you have and how to correct it if necessary. Growing Tea Indoors In some areas it may not be conducive to grow camellias outdoors during the winter months, or in certain cases, at all depending on your circumstances. Understanding the plant needs will help you be successful in growing camellias in other areas besides their natural habitat. Camellia sinensis prefer bright light, direct sun with caution especially if turning because it can burn un-acclimated leaves. If at all possible grow them outdoors in nonfreezing weather and bring them indoors for severe freezes. Tips for Growing Camellia sinensis indoors        19 If possible, grow outdoors during growing season. Move indoors during dormant, winter season. When indoors, keep away from heat sources such as fire places and heaters. Provide bright but indirect light Cool temperatures - above freezing to 60° during winter Humidity 50-60% Turn your camellias often to prevent stretching Follow the guidelines for growing camellias in containers in this e-book WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia Sinensis Soil pH Proper pH will give you healthy plants Soil pH, or potential Hydrogen, and numeric scales are us...
Food For Your Tea Fertilize your Camellia sinensis Nutrients are a very important part of camellia care. Your camellias will need adequate nutrients throughout their life cycle, and they can’t get it if you don’t give it to them! We suggest going with organics if you can. Organics are safer for your plant and will give you excellent results. Fertilizing Tips:  Camellias LOVE organic fertilizers such as Hollytone™ which is specially formulated for Acid loving plants. It’s the best and what we use on all of our plants.  Milorganite is another great fertilizer to add to your feeding. When combined with Hollytone, your plants will get just what they need!  Choose a liquid fertilizer or water soluble like Miracle Grow or Peters plant food for plants younger than 3 years of age  Go very lightly on granular “Azalea & Camellia” fertilizer as burning can occur very easily. Make sure if you use this type, that you water well to wash it off leaves and into soil  Fertilize on a regular basis. You eat on a regular basis and if you don’t, you’ll see results—so will your camellias. Once every 3 years is not enough.  Don’t use any fertilizer that is not a general/all purpose or is labeled for other things like lawn fertilizer, cactus fertilizer etc. Like camellias, all fertilizer is different.  Also be careful doubling up on fertilizers - if you have used any type of fertilizer, don’t apply a second application of something else until you know exactly what you’re using. Call us if you have any questions.  Pay close attention to camellias in containers when fertilizing. Water soluble or organic fertilizers are recommended as granular and timed released fertilizers could cause salt burn on containerized camellias. Recommended Fertilizers Hollytone™ - This organic low nitrogen ground or container plantings is excellent for young and old plants alike. We use it on all of our camellias, including sinensis and the results are remarkable. **** AND**** Milorganite Also an excellent fertilizer to use alone or with combined with HollyTone. Your plants will thank you! Mix equal parts with Hollytone and fertilize about every 6 weeks during the growing season! Miracle Grow™ “Miracid” is a water soluble fertilizer and is formulated for all acid loving plants, including camellia. You must use it regularly to get results. Using once a season is not adequate. Suggestion 20 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Food For Your Tea Fertilize your Camellia sinensis Nutrients are a very important part of camellia care. Your camellias wi...
Water and Mulch for Your Tea Plants Water Water is a necessary nutrient and the number one cause of camellia failure if not provided or if given too much. When you plant camellias, whether in the ground or in containers, make sure the soil drains properly and that your plants receive adequate moisture. If you plant outdoors and have an irrigation system, make sure the system provides adequate irrigation and does not run off or is blocked by other plants. Also, new plants will need to have special attention until they get established. They will dry out more quickly than plants that have established themselves. Make sure water does not puddle or stand around plants. Sinensis will not tolerate wet soils or mucky soils that do not drain properly. Humidity Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air. Camellia sinensis plants like a slightly humid environment, but not enough that keeps the foliage wet. Camellia sinensis can do well in a variety of climates - but do best with humidity levels that are 60-70%. Mulch Mulching is a great way to keep moisture loss at a minimum and also protects the roots against extreme cold or heat. Mulch needs to provide organic matter to be no only a moisture barrier but to provide nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Rubber mulch does not break down and does nothing for your plants. Types of Mulches Bark mulches are excellent barriers to weeds and moisture loss through heat and can help protect roots from winter damage as well 21 Pine straw, leaves, compost and bark all break down into vital nutrients that the plants will absorb WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Water and Mulch for Your Tea Plants Water Water is a necessary nutrient and the number one cause of camellia failure if no...
What’s Eating Your Tea? Tea Scale Tea scale is the most common insect found on camellias. Left untreated, plants can become unhealthy which can result in the plant’s poor performance or death. Scale insects attach camellias from under the leaves and usually appear as a white web like substance. Damage from scale can be seen on the upper part of the leaf as mottled yellow areas. Treat with oil spray or insecticidal soap Mites Mites are another insect that can be found under the leaves of camellias as very fine dust like substance that easily washes off with water. Damage to upper leaves from mites appear as a bronzing look starting at center and spreading down the main vein to the edges Treat with oil spray or insecticidal soap Aphids Aphids usually attack the new growth of camellias in the spring or as buds develop. They are small ant-like insects and are very visible. There is really no prevention, but treatment with an insecticide labeled for Aphids will usually do the trick if you see them. It’s not unusual to find ands where you find aphids. Aphids secrete a sweet sticky substance that can attract ants. Occasionally aphids can attack flower buds as well causing damage to unopened buds. Treat with oil spray or insecticidal soap Deer Deer will eat camellias. If you have a problem, fence small plants or cover with netting the first year or so. Once camellias get large, they usually don’t mess with them. Deer can devastate camellias by chewing off the foliage which creates an avenue for disease from damage to the plant. Camellias have to have foliage to survive. Caterpillars and other leaf eating insects Significant damage can be done to leaves by caterpillars and other leaf eating insects. Normally in the south, these come out and night and feast on the leaves then retreat back to the soil or lower branches during the heat of the day. Control is difficult without the use of insecticides. BEE Mindful of Bees Using insecticides, especially on tea during flowering can be devastating to bees. To keep that balance of nature, spray before or after flowering and use an organic soap or oil spray. Neem Oil or a paraffin based oil spray works well for controlling most insects. Ready made insecticide soaps and homemade Soaps, such as dish soap works well too and are safe for your plant and the environment. We recommend 1-2 tablespoons dish soap in 1.2 gallon of water and put in a spray bottle and spray your plants for insects if you see them. Keep our eco system healthy and don’t harm the bees! 22 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
What   s Eating Your Tea  Tea Scale Tea scale is the most common insect found on camellias. Left untreated, plants can bec...
Camellia sinensis Disease & Disorders Algal Leaf Spot Sunburn Camellias that are grown in sites of higher light levels are more prone to being infected with algal leaf spot. Conditions that increase the chance or severity of infection are: poor air circulation and excessive leaf wetness through rainfall or irrigation. Control can be achieved by raking and removing fallen, diseased foliage, eliminating or reducing frequency of over-head irrigation, and improving air circulation by pruning back nearby shrubs and over-hanging tree limbs. Sprays with a copper-based fungicide may be required. Camellia sinensis planted or placed in full sun can run the risk of having sunburn. When the suns rays are exposed to plant that has not been acclimated, it can cause burning. This can happen if you prune a plant and suddenly leaves that were hidden from direct sun are not exposed. Or it can be that a plant that has been growing in a shade environment now is exposed either through moving it or moving something else that may have been covering it, like another plant. We suggest that you grow your sinensis tea plants in a semi-shaded environment out of direct sun. Fungal Leaf Spots and Damage All camellias are subject to fungal leaf diseases. They are usually found in climates that are warm and humid and when new growth is present. New tissue is very tender and fungal spores can enter through even the smallest of openings caused by insects, or just minor damage. It can also be caused by water that sits on the leaves, especially at night, or where plants and foliage is tight without good air flow. Treat with a fungicide during the warm months and prune plants to improve good air flow. Also water during the morning, not at night. Nutrient Deficiencies Plants that do not receive the necessary nutrients can become deficient in one of more necessary elements. This can be caused by a lack of nutrients, inadequate mulching, or by an incorrect soil pH. Nutrient deficiencies should be correct to achieve optimum plant health for good performance. Heat Stress Camellia sinensis is very susceptible to heat stress either from very high temperatures or direct sun that can burn the leaves. This picture shows damage to leaves of plants after being exposed to 100+ temperatures for a few days without any protection. Heat stress not only affects the foliage but the entire plant can defoliate. Unfortunately, defoliation is the plant’s last resort to try to stop the problem it’s having, but many times they will not recover. Heat stress can be caused by their environment heating up suddenly to very high temperatures. 23 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia sinensis Disease   Disorders Algal Leaf Spot Sunburn Camellias that are grown in sites of higher light levels are...
Camellia sinensis Tea Resources Savannah, GA Buy online! W e ship to all continental United States in the soil. Visit Us Online! Savannah’s source for Ornamental Flowering Camellias and Camellia Sinensis Tea Plants Www.genesnursery.com Www.teaplantstogo.com Text or Voicemail: 912-376-9244 Text or Voicemail: 912-421-8706 Email: info@genesnursery.com Email: sales@teaplantstogo.com 8706 Whitefield Avenue Savannah, GA 31406 We accept All Major Credit Cards Fast and Easy Online Ordering Contact us before you visit to get our hours and days of operation Visit our website to learn more about growing Camellia Sinensis Tea plants. Whether you’re a nursery grower or a home gardener, we have the information you need to Grow Your Own Tea Www.tsubakitea.com 24 WWW.TSUBAKITEA.COM
Camellia sinensis Tea Resources  Savannah, GA Buy online  W e ship to all continental United States in the soil. Visit Us ...